A Kitchen Upgrade: Part One of Three






It feels like we started this process ages ago.  We had a thought (Hey, let’s redo the kitchen this summer!), put some money down on new counter top and told Home Depot “Let ‘er rip!”  We were thinking at most that this process would be a week from start to finish.

And then the Derecho hit.  And then work got crazy for JGL.  And now work is crazy for me.  And until last night we were still left with phase one of a potentially three part process still not done.  But after some cracker jack timing by my dear JGL, we can officially call part one a wrap.

What was part one?  Part one was replacing the countertop.  And because we can never do anything easy here, when the countertop assessment crew came they shared that we would have to take the first line of tile out in order for the new countertops to fit.  So replacing the countertop and retiling.  Check.

The old countertops were the original laminate ones the house was built with years ago.  You would look at them and just think, I shall can tomatoes today, and before you even started the project they were stained.  I fought valiantly against the stainage for the first year or so we lived here and then gave up.


So with no power and during the hottest week of the summer, we ripped the old countertops out.  So long, farewell, good riddance!  From there we were able to get in and knock the line of tile out, and then the wonderful countertop crew came in and put in our new countertop.  A countertop that is stain resistant.  Stain Resistant!  It’s truly a miracle.  We also found new facets that we love, so last weekend JGL installed those as well.


But then we hit a snag.  We had thought purchasing new replacement tile would be the way to go, but sadly our local home store didn’t have an exact match for our kitchen.  So after a week of soaking the old tile, my Dad came up with the solution that would eventually work–put them in the crock pot overnight.  And as crazy as it sounds, it actually worked–the old mastic peeled right off.  So last night we cut, replaced, and grouted the tile, and laid a bead of silicone at the base to seal it all up.


And folks, part one is now a wrap.  It’s not a huge change, but I’m so happy with how it’s starting to look.  It’s a small kitchen and for me it has to be one that can take a beating, and we are well on our way there.

Part two is painting the cabinets and ceiling, and replacing the hardware to match the new faucets.  We’re a little nervous that once we paint the cabinets it’s going to make the rest of the house look like it desperately needs a paint job as well, but we’ll cross that bridge when we get there.

Part three, you ask?  See the ugly range above the stove?  My dream is to take that out and take the cabinets above the stove out and replace it with a Microhood Combination Convection Microwave Oven.   Like I said, it’s a little kitchen and for our family it needs to be a workhorse, and if I can’t have my Julia Child-esque double ovens just yet, this might be the next best thing.  Baby steps, though, baby steps 🙂





To say that the past week was a whirlwind is a gross understatement.  There was a “quick” journey north to visit family and attend the wedding of a dear high school friend, a stomach bug that jumped on board unbeknown to me in VA and traveled up to NH, a Dad who made the connection that tablet meant iPad and yes I could use my iPad to read his “This Old House,” and the list goes on and on.

A crazy week, yes, but a very, very good week.

And the countertop man came yesterday to get the official measurements in the kitchen and the bathroom–huzzah!  After a lot of research and a bang up deal at the Home Depot, we decided to go for a solid surface countertop in both the kitchen and the bathroom (Samsung’s Staron in Bright White).  We did both the kitchen and the bath because our kitchen is so small it lacked the required countertop square footage for a) our more local home store to even look at doing the job and b) in order to get the free sink we needed the extra square footage.  What we’re telling folks at all of the cocktail parties we’re going to is that we’re doing it to help create a cohesive feel in our small humble abode, not that we’re cheap.

We’re totally just cheap.

And the countertop man was great–on time, professional, and willing to answer our questions.  The only snafu that he shared was that our current countertop is not solid, and as such our new countertop will either have to be molded to fit the current design (at a more expensive price), or we can simply just put the solid surface on top without molding it, raising our current countertop 3/4 of an inch. If we go with this option, we are going to have to take some existing tiles out of our wall and either cut tiles to put in, or add a decorative backsplash to fit.

So do remember that part where a) we’re totally cheap, and b) I just had almost an entire year of This Old House handed to me?

I’m considering using corks to DIY a cork backsplash.  I cut one up this morning and used craft glue to stick it to the existing tile, but the juries still out.  It certainly would be incredibly cost effective and solve our backsplash problem, and I love the idea of using something that we have on hand and means something to us to integrate that into the house.  I just worry that it’s not going to look right in our matchy-matchy white-on-white kitchen.


Picket Fences

Back in March we inherited tools from my folks.  They were amazing and brought them down from MA, and all these little projects that JGL and I had been dreaming about all of a sudden became actually feasible.  First project JGL wanted to tackle?  Ripping up an ugly bush on the side of the house by the rose bush and then installing a privacy fence.

It’s looking great–the wood needs to dry out before we start painting it white, and I have plans to get some planters on the stakes.  More to come on the details of how JGL crafted the fence!